Explore Costa Rica's extraordinary natural environments on this four-week high school summer abroad program.
Hike, paddle, and zip-line through Costa Rica’s diverse regions and ecosystems, and witness firsthand the country’s environmental sustainability efforts. Spend time in nature reserves and national parks, kayak in the Golfo Dulce, and witness the beauty of Costa Rica’s coastline. Visit rain forests and learn about Costa Rica’s tropical birds, indigenous animals, and plants. Learn about a local community’s ongoing conservation initiatives related to sea turtles. Visit a farm engaged in sustainable agriculture practices. An experienced Costa Rican naturalist accompanies your group throughout the program.
Gain new and unique perspectives on Costa Rica’s culture and communities while living for two weeks with a host family. Work alongside host family members and other local residents on a community service project that focuses on rural development and ecological sustainability. Practice your Spanish through daily interactions with your host family. Enjoy nature hikes, meals of gallo pinto, and cultural exchange activities with host family members and your Experiment group.
Throughout the program, you and your group participate in outdoor, experiential activities, including hiking, horseback riding, and tubing. The program begins and ends in the country’s capital, San José where you can learn more about Costa Rican history and culture with visits to museums and San José Central market.
Orientation in San José
- Learn about the history, culture, and ecology of Costa Rica
- Go on a walking tour of the city
- Visit La Sabana Metropolitan Park and its art museum and the National Stadium
- Visit InBio Park, where four of the country’s major habitats—tropical rainforest, tropical dry forest, premontane forest, and wetlands—are recreated in outdoor gardens
- Get to know other members of your group during activities
- Practice your Spanish language skills
During the orientation period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.
Thematic Focus on the Osa Peninsula
- Visit a model farm practicing sustainable agriculture and learn about the chocolate culture in the area
- Go hiking with local naturalists and kayak the calms and deep waters of Golfo Dulce
- Travel by boat to the Campanario Biological Station and learn about the station’s project to conserve rare and endangered flora and fauna
- Visit Corcovado National Park and see bat caves, hike trails, and learn about conservation projects in the area
- Visit a local village
During this period, you and your group will stay at a farm and biological station.
- Do activities with your host family
- Practice your Spanish language skills
- Participate in cultural exchange activities
- Explore your host community and the surrounding areaLearn different skills from people in your host community
- Work on a community service project such as painting at a school
During this period, you will stay in the home of a family. Sample host communities: Pejivaye, Santa Cruz, Santa Maria de Dota, Palmares, Carit
Thematic Focus at a Wildlife Refuge
- Visit a sea turtle conservation facility and learn about sea turtles and efforts to conserve their habitat and protect their population
- Patrol the beach and help with habitat rehabilitation (beach cleaning)
- Work in sea turtle hatcheries
- Travel by boat to the surrounding area and learn more about the local ecosystem
During this period, you and your group will stay in a lodge.
Program Reflection and Wrap-up at Playa Hermosa and San José
- Enjoy the ocean views and natural beauty of the bay
- Go snorkelingReflect with your group on your experiences during the program
During this period, you and your group will stay in centrally located hotels.
About The Experiment
The Experiment in International Living is a non-profit organization that has been offering immersive experiential learning programs abroad since 1932. Today, The Experiment offers three-, four-, and five-week summer programs for high school students in more than 20 countries around the world.
Programs are designed to equip participants not only with essential cultural skills and, in many cases, language skills, but also with a deeper awareness of and sensitivity to critical global issues shaping the diverse communities and regions we visit. Each year, hundreds of Experimenters come away from their summer abroad with invaluable new skills, connections, awareness, and knowledge that help them to thrive—and lead—in diverse, intercultural environments.
The Experiment is committed to providing participants from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds with access to The Experiment’s immersive cross-cultural programs through its partnerships, scholarships, and other initiatives.
The Experiment places the highest priority on health, safety, and security. Each program follows a comprehensive structure designed to maximize the well-being of all participants while they engage in dynamic cross-cultural experiences.
We have implemented specific risk management strategies that include a 24-hour emergency on-call service and regular safety reviews. We hire and train experienced adult group leaders and maintain longstanding partnerships with in-country offices to support each of our programs.
1 Participant ReviewWrite a Review
As a student who has never ventured outside of the United States, I can say that without a doubt Experiment in International Living's overseas programs have provided me with one of the most inspirational and educational experiences of my life. Each of the different programs focuses on a theme that is well integrated throughout the program alongside exciting activities, informational tours, and life changing home stays. From the moment I arrived at the airport, the group leaders and members all worked to create a safe community among themselves and allowed for the other high school students and me to connect with not only each other but with people of different languages and cultures. The trips are detailed so that in everything you do you are enlightened about the world you are in and the ways of living of other people. Whether you are doing a home stay or simply participating in a tour, you are constantly learning something new while also having fun experiencing the adventure with other students around your age. Though most people come having fears about going overseas, most end up having more fear having to leave the overseas communities that they have grown accustomed to after experiencing their way of life and learning so much. After returning from my own trip I have worked to raise awareness of the program in my high school and even helped some students apply because I believe that without a shadow of a doubt that the lessons I learned from participating were life-changing and not things that can be learned in a classroom. I strongly recommend The Experiment in International Living's programs to any high school looking to widen their knowledge of the world outside of the United States and truly come to understand just how similar they are to young adults their age in other countries.